Cancer is a big burden to bear and even though the treatment is helpful it comes with a lot of pain which experts are now calling a condition in itself. Since the disease affects bones, organs and nerves, strong painkillers like morphine and codeine only help temporarily. Here are four herbs that can help in alleviating the nagging and severe pain that cancer causes.
While the painkillers given to patients undergoing chemotherapy have their rightful benefits, they cause side effects that are hard to handle at an already painful time. Not to mention, because of how long the course of medication is over a period of time, patients start to depend on them resulting in them needing larger doses edging them towards tolerance.
A Times of India report stated an alternative way to manage the pain with three herbs that have the ability to block inflammation-causing enzymes thereby reducing pain and swelling.
Curcumin, an extract of turmeric that has three per cent of total turmeric powder is widely known for its ‘anti-cancer properties’; these properties include the suppression of pain and the destruction of pain-causing free radicals. In addition to this, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are the benefits of both turmeric and curcumin.
TOI reported that a study that was done by New York-based cancer research centre stated that turmeric, in fact, has a much more precise ability to reduce and stop inflammation than aspirin does. In order to implement this in a diet, all that has to be done is the substitution of NSAID’s with curcumin supplements or consuming them in food.
Further studies, TOI reports, have shown that curcumin can cause ‘programmed cell death’ also known as ‘apoptosis’, allowing the death of cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells of the body. Not to mention, it can also stop the ‘killer cells’ from dividing. A study has reported that curcumin has killed more cancer cells than chemotherapy has.
Next on the list is papain which is an extract from the papaya fruit and comes from unripe papaya skin. TOI reports that studies showed that papain targets tumour cells and aids in improving immunity while it has also proven to reduce side effects of radiation. It can be given to patients as a topical medication or can be consumed as papain based supplements.
Last on the list is ginger extract that helps in reducing pain and inflammation by decreasing the number of prostaglandins which are molecules that indicate pain. Since nausea and discomfort is part of any cancer treatment, ginger is said to be very effective in reducing these symptoms. It can be implemented in your diet fresh or as a dried root but it can also be purchased as capsules, oils or extracts.
Although, not a herb, water is crucial when a patient’s body has to go through the pressure of chemotherapy. The treatment actually results in the body losing water increasing the urges of thirst on a regular basis. The benefit of chugging water, besides preventing dehydration, is that it flushes out toxins that are present in the bloodstream which prevents the accumulation of toxic waste in the kidneys. Being more direct, since one of the major side effects of chemotherapy is constipation, keeping the body hydrated will help prevent the adding on of stomach problems to an already fatigued body.